Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Malevolent Designer News - Using Mink to Make a More Lethal SARS-C0V-2 Virus

Introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into farmed mink leads to the emergence of viral variants that partially evade antibody-mediated neutralization.

A) SARS-CoV-2-infected workers introduced the virus into farmed mink populations, causing an epidemic spread of the virus in the animals. As a result, the virus mutated in mink and gave rise to a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant. This novel variant was subsequently transmitted back to workers, sparking transmission chains in the local community.

B) SARS-CoV-2 from mink harbor one or more mutations in the viral spike protein, which is used by the virus to enter cells and constitutes the main target for neutralizing antibodies. These mutations enable the virus to partially evade from neutralization by antibodies from convalescent individuals and synthetic antibodies used for COVID-9 therapy.

Figure: Markus Hoffmann
Deutsches Primatenzentrum: SARS-CoV-2 variants from mink evade inhibition by antibodies

Creationist mode:


News today of the lengths Creationism's putative intelligent [sic] designer is going in its plan to make as many of us die from its new plague virus, SARS-CoV-2, which is currently ravaging the world in the worst pandemic for a century.

It has recruited the help of mink!

According to an open access paper in Cell Reports a few days ago, the variety of the virus that went from humans into mink has now produced a variant that evades the antibodies we have been building in the population to prevent us suffering from the virus, or being made seriously ill by it if we do catch it.

The research was carried out by scientists working for the Infection Biology Unit, German Primate Center – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, Göttingen, Germany and the Division of Molecular Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine 3, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany. The news release from the German Primate Center – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research, gives details:
It has been known for about a year that minks can become infected with SARS-CoV-2. The virus had been transmitted from humans to farmed mink and mutated in infected animals. Mutations were acquired in the spike protein, which is crucial for the entry of the virus into host cells and represents the central point of attack for antibodies. These SARS-CoV-2 variants from mink were transmitted back to humans, raising concerns that minks could be a continuing source of infection of humans with SARS-CoV-2 variants with altered biological properties. Researchers at the German Primate Center (DPZ) - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research in Göttingen, Germany, have now shown that an antibody used for COVID-19 therapy is unable to effectively inhibit SARS-CoV-2 harboring a spike mutation acquired in minks. In addition, the mutation reduced the inhibition of the virus by antibodies produced in SARS-CoV-2 infected humans. These results show that SARS-CoV-2 can acquire mutations in minks that may reduce control of the virus by the human immune system (Cell Reports).

Our results show that one of two antibodies from an antibody cocktail used for COVID-19 therapy no longer efficiently inhibits the viral variant with the Y453F mutation. Furthermore, our study demonstrates that the Y453F mutation reduces inhibition of the virus by antibodies produced by COVID-19 patients. This means that people who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 may have reduced protection against mink variants of the virus.

Dr. Markus Hoffmann, Lead author
Infection Biology Unit
German Primate Center (DPZ) - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research.
Göttingen, Germany
More than three million people have died worldwide from the pandemic spread of SARS coronavirus-2 and its associated disease COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Animal-to-human transmission of the virus is believed to be the origin of the pandemic, which began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. In April 2020, mink in Dutch mink farms developed a respiratory disease due to infection with SARS-CoV-2, which was transmitted from infected farm workers to the animals. The virus mutated in mink and different virus variants emerged, which were transmitted back to farm workers and then also transmitted from human to human. This observation was also made in Denmark and millions of minks were killed to prevent the transmission of new viral variants to humans.

The spike protein in the envelope of SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for the entry of the virus into cells in which it replicates. Researchers led by Markus Hoffmann and Stefan Pöhlmann of the German Primate Center
In the meantime, the Y453F mutation has also occurred in humans, but not through infection with a mink variant. When the virus replicates for a long time in people who are immunocompromised, resistant variants can emerge. In this case, the resistance-mediating mutation was identical to the one observed in mink.

Prof. Dr Stefan Pöhlmann, Co-author
Head of the Infection Biology Unit
German Primate Center (DPZ) - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research.
Göttingen, Germany
have studied mutations detected in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 from mink, including mutation Y453F. The researchers wanted to find out whether this mutation affects inhibition of the virus by antibodies that are used for COVID-19 therapy or are produced in COVID-19 patients.

"Our results show that one of two antibodies from an antibody cocktail used for COVID-19 therapy no longer efficiently inhibits the viral variant with the Y453F mutation. Furthermore, our study demonstrates that the Y453F mutation reduces inhibition of the virus by antibodies produced by COVID-19 patients. This means that people who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 may have reduced protection against mink variants of the virus", says Markus Hoffmann, first author of the study. In sum, SARS-CoV-2 can mutate in minks in a way that reduces immune control by antibodies. Whether this is also possible in other animals to which the virus can be transmitted by infected individuals is currently unclear. "In the meantime, the Y453F mutation has also occurred in humans, but not through infection with a mink variant. When the virus replicates for a long time in people who are immunocompromised, resistant variants can emerge. In this case, the resistance-mediating mutation was identical to the one observed in mink," says Stefan Pöhlmann.
Creationists will tell you that this must be due to their putative designer tinkering with the virus because these changes that biologists call mutation and evolution are not possible and need an intelligent, magic designer to make them happen.

Creationist mode:



Highlights


  • SARS-CoV-2 from mink harbor up to five mutations in the spike protein
  • Entry inhibitors under clinical evaluation block mink spike proteins
  • Mutation Y453F confers partial escape from a therapeutic antibody
  • Y453F allows evasion of antibodies induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection of humans


Graphical abstract

Summary


Transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from humans to farmed mink has been observed in Europe and the US. In the infected animals, viral variants arose that harbored mutations in the spike (S) protein, the target of neutralizing antibodies, and these variants were transmitted back to humans. This raised concerns that mink might become a constant source of human infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants associated with an increased threat to human health and resulted in mass culling of mink. Here, we report that mutations frequently found in the S proteins of SARS-CoV-2 from mink are mostly compatible with efficient entry into human cells and its inhibition by soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). In contrast, mutation Y453F reduces neutralization by an antibody with emergency use authorization for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) therapy and sera/plasma from COVID-19 patients. These results suggest that antibody responses induced upon infection or certain antibodies used for treatment might offer insufficient protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants from mink.
Clearly, the struggle between medical science and the SARS-CoV-2 virus has some way to go yet before the final triumph of science. It looks increasingly as though we will need to develop annual booster vaccines just to keep up with the mutations that will inevitably arise in people who have not been vaccinated and those that can evade our antibodies will thrive in the general population.

For some inexplicable reason, Creationist advocates of the Intelligent [sic] Design notion would prefer that people attributed this all to their favourite deity, rather than laying it at the door of mindless, undirected, amoral natural evolutionary processes.



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